Yoga for Freediving is a very 'does what it says on the tin' name which is great to get yogic freedivers to sit up and pay attention, but in hindsight doesn't really do justice to the broad scope of freediving as a sport, spiritual path and way of life, and specifically my approach to teaching yoga for freediving.
Freediving is a metaphor for life. From an early age we learn that in order to succeed in life (school, university, our career), we must apply ourselves and always try harder. The greater the struggle against adversity, the greater the chance of success. Right? Well at school and uni, to a certain extent, yes, but in the water and in life - wrong!
When we are in the water and we experience discomfort, the discomfort it not something to run away from. Rather, within the discomfort itself lies a message. Discomfort in the water is caused by one of two things; either we are deeper than our body is physically adapted for and we are experiencing real pressure (ears, or chest); or our mind perceives something to be too great a challenge (ie we are in fear, anxiety, self-doubt, confusion) and this translates into a similar or the same physical sensation and tension in the body. Learning to de-code and consciously respond to these messages in an appropriate way is the key to great freediving.
To de-code these messages takes time. The first step, in the water, is to simply stop, recognise the sensation, observe what is triggering it, and understand the emotion that it causes and take a moment to consciously choose how to act, rather than unconsciously reacting.
How does this work? Firstly, you need to observe that something is wrong, then you simply stop. Observe the tension in your body, and try to relax. If the tension goes away, you were mentally stressed and can safely continue a metre or two. If the tension or pressure remains, you're experiencing real, rather than perceived pressure, and should turn and head back to the surface.
And so in life: Learning to de-code and consciously respond to the subtle sensations in your body caused either by real triggers (someone pissed you off so you get angry), or imagined ones (remembering a traumatic event, or getting worried about a future one) and learning how to re-programme our subconscious reactive patterns, is the secret to real success in life.
When we can find the mili-second within that cycle of trigger-sensation-emotion-reaction which happens most of the time without us even being aware it's happening, let alone being aware we have a choice to intervene and stop it, we gain control over our life. We stop our reactive nature which sabotages both our own lives, and our relationships. We start to gain control over our mind, to be able to direct it to create the life we want, rather than be victim to its fear-based reactions.
This is why freediving as a sport, and Yoga for Freediving as a training programme, goes far beyond the confines of a buoy and a rope, or a pool. Freediving is intense meditation, and understanding it as such is a key to unlock not only your potential in the water, but also your potential in the rest of your life.
To find out more, or to take control of your life, start your own Yoga for Freediving (or for Life) journey today here!